Sunday, March 3, 2013

BOUNDLESS by Cynthia Hand

Cynthia Hand

Rating: A+
The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.

As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.

In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.

My thoughts on the book:
Boundless is one of the best series finales I've ever read. Hand creates her own path to the conclusion of this story, which leads to a surprisingly different ending from most of the other YA series finales in today's market. This unique approach led to fully developed and evolved characters, a feeling of resolution while still hinting at the characters' continued lives beyond the story, and an intriguing plot that keeps the reader engaged. This story flew by, and while I felt sad that this is the end, I also was satisfied with the ending. Hand shows how talented she is in Boundless, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. 

Clara has always impressed me as a character. She's strong and independent, but she still has a heart of gold. She's snarky when need be, but she's not off-putting. She's an extremely balanced character, and she grows even more in this final installment. Sometimes she simply reacts out of pure emotion, which we all do, but she tries her hardest not to be selfish. She really wants to be a good person, and I love that about her. She's a great narrator, and I approve of all of how she handled everything. She's almost always honest, and she doesn't take people for granted. She's a great character that we could all learn from. 

Christian and Tucker are both fantastic, and while I vacillated between the two teams, I would have been happy regardless of who Clara chose. I love how Hand handled this situation. She hinted at doing a few of the "easy way out" scenarios that less talented authors opt for, but in the end, the situation resolved itself in an interesting and unique way. I wasn't disappointed with how things turned out at all. I think the entire love triangle was handled with grace. I feel like both guys got what they wanted and needed in life and that no one was short-changed.

The plot was intricately woven and intense. There were some surprises, and other things I saw coming a mile away (such as who the main betrayer would be). I found it interesting how everything seemed to be completely screwed up half the time, but in the end, it all came together exactly how it was destined to. I also enjoyed the idea of our choices always being the right ones, no matter how much they seemed like a mistake, because they will lead to our destiny. Basically our choices create our destiny, but our destiny is already laid out. We just happen to make the "right" choices. It's a combination of free will and fate that creates our purposes. That, to me, seems to be the prevailing message of this series, and I'm glad Hand addressed the concept. Many YA series don't deal with anything remotely philosophical, but Hand realizes that her readers are intelligent and capable of deep thought. So in addition to a terrific and entertaining story, she included some philosophical concepts. 

Overall, I'd recommend this series to anyone who enjoys good books with some depth. While it is an angel series, it's not overly religious. Those who are Christian and those who aren't will enjoy the story. I never felt as if Hand was preaching at me, and she doesn't make a case for anything through her characters. She simply played around with a philosophy to see where it led. If you haven't read this series yet, you are missing out. 

Order Boundless today!

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